Leyla begins her job as a student nurse at General Hospital, and hopes to become a doctor one day. When Dr. Patrick Drake ends his relationship with Dr. Robin Scorpio, Leyla becomes romantically involved with him. As their relationship progresses from purely physical, she accompanies him to a black and white ball thrown by Nikolas Cassadine in honor of his engagement to his long time love Emily Bowen-Quartermaine.
Homicidal mob boss Anthony Zacchara, who is obsessed with his son Johnny, begins terrorizing many of the guests, launching the ball into a frenzy of fear and worry. Upon seeing Leyla, who bears a remarkable resemblance to Maria Zacchara, Johnny's mother and the wife Anthony murdered, he forces her to choose between the lives of Patrick and Robin. Leyla tells Anthony to shoot Patrick, but steps in front of the bullet at the last moment.
The doctors are able to save her life, but despite her noble sacrifice, Patrick and Robin reconcile and eventually get back together, leaving Leyla heartbroken. When Farah Mir, Leyla's overbearing mother, comes to Port Charles, Leyla pretends she is in a serious relationship with Dr. Leo Julian. When Leo is unable to attend a family wedding with her, Damian Spinelli steps in, and the two share a romantic moment of attraction.
They dance at the wedding and have more fun with each other than they originally thought they would. However Maxie Jones, who is Spinelli's secret love, warns Leyla not to pursue her best friend if she is going to hurt him. Leyla stops her before she can get any further and points out Spinelli's obvious attraction to Maxie, but even still makes no promises about a future relationship with him.
In late January 2009, Leyla reveals that she is engaged and has finally moved on with her life. However, after an airborne biotoxin is released in an operating room in February, Leyla dies from complications related to the poison. Patrick, who is visibly upset over her death, breaks the news to her fiance, who is heartbroken.